Six gifted Omani amateur golfers have proven that it is not only the European Challenge Tour’s top 45 players that can cause sparks to fly on the spectacular Al Mouj Golf as they competed in the NBO Omani Amateur Final.
A key driver in NBO’s sponsorship of Challenge Tour’s season-ending event is a desire to grow the sport of golf in Oman at grassroots level, and the first steps towards this began two years ago when an amateur tournament was organised at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final with six local players competing on the Al Mouj Golf Course.
Once all the top players in the prestigious NBO Golf Classic Grand Final had teed off, up stepped the following six Omani talents: Hamad Al Rumhy, Ahmed Al Balushi, Hussain Dad Al Balushi, Rashad Al Harthy, Azzan Al Rumhy and reigning champion Fahad Al Kitani. These players qualified for the final after playing 36 holes at both Al Mouj Golf and Ghala Valley Golf Club against 35 amateurs in total.
Azzan Al Rumhy won the event two years ago and repeated this feat on Al Mouj Golf after scoring 80 to beat reigning champion Fahad Al Kitani by three strokes.
Al Ruhmy, who is 33 and has competed on the Asian Tour, Challenge Tour and MENA Tour was delighted at being crowned the 2017 top amateur in the country.
“I am delighted to win this tournament,” said Al Ruhmy. “I was happy with how I started the round and was confident of shooting a mid 70 score but a mistake on the 16th lead to a double bogey. I then shot another double bogey so was nervous after my round because I thought Fahad might catch me because I didn’t know what score he was on.”
“When I was growing up we started playing on sand in 1998 for 11 years until we got our first green golf course in 2009 and now we have five golf courses so that’s an amazing achievement for this country.”
Lee O’Donoghue, Director of Golf at Golf Oman, feels the NBO Omani Amateur Final is a phenomenal opportunity for Omani golfers to experience what it’s like competing professionally and a great indicator of the development of the golf scene in the country. “The amateurs love the tournament because it gives them a feeling of being involved in a professional format,” said O’Donoghue. “Our biggest target is to grow golf in the area and this is a fantastic opportunity for our local talents.
“Golf is not a sport that is easy to improve at in a quick manner so we focus heavily on developing the juniors which is assisted by a Junior Series that we run. We had a Junior Pro-Am on Monday which had 15 of the up and coming Omani golfers playing with five of the pros, so the structure is certainly there for the long term with consistent golfers constantly coming through the ranks.”
Although there was no European Tour card at stake like there is for the professionals this weekend, the accolade of being the best amateur in Oman is an achievement that Azzan Al Rumhy should be proud of and an indicator of how much the local golf talent is progressing in Oman.